RESPECT FOR INDIGENOUS AUTONOMY AND A HALT TO THE REPRESSION IN CHIAPAS
We call on all fellow adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon
Jungle and those struggling and resisting from below and to the left to join
us on February 15th, 2008, for an international day of action against the
repression in Chiapas and for the respect of indigenous autonomy.
In recent months, aggressions against the Zapatista communities have
drastically worsened. The low intensity war has acquired a dimension not
seen since the Acteal massacre ten years ago. At the same time, media
coverage remains low. We believe that it is crucial that we make it clear to
public opinion in Europe that we have not forgotten the conflict and
resistance in Chiapas. We will show the Mexican government that here in
Europe we are closely watching the worrying situation in Chiapas. For this
reason, we are calling for an international day of action on February 15th
in front of Mexican Embassies and Consulates. The date coincides with the
12th anniversary of the San Andrés Accords. (The anniversary is actually on
February 16th, but this is a Saturday, so embassies will be closed on the
The San Andrés Accords negotiated between the EZLN and the Mexican
government had as their objective to guarantee indigenous autonomy. Amongst
other things, they included indigenous autonomy and self-management of
natural resources by the indigenous inhabitants of the area. However, the
EZLN broke off the negotiations due to the fact that the government neither
fulfilled nor respected the Accords. We are in solidarity with the
realization of indigenous autonomy.
The situation of the indigenous communities in resistance has worsened since
the implementation of Plan Puebla Panama and other neoliberal mega projects,
which require access to Chiapas' biosphere reserves for infrastructure and
In August 2007, four communities were violently displaced in the biosphere
reserve of Montes Azules in the Lacandon Jungle. Over the last year, the
number and intensity of paramilitary attacks carried out by OPDDIC
(Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Peasant Rights) against
Zapatista communities has increased in the area of Agua Azul, the most
visited and well-known waterfalls in México.
Since September 2007, OPDDIC has issued several threats and carried out
attacks against the Zapatista settlement Bolom Ajaw due to the fact that the
people are located in the road to some waterfalls, which are currently still
inaccessible to tourists. In cahoots with the state government OPDDIC is
planning a new tourist project for which it intends to displace the
community. Now that the community has refused voluntary resettlement, it has
suffered numerous attacks and death threats, as well as threats of rape, at
the hands of OPDDIC. Furthermore, some houses were burnt down in Bolom Ajaw.
The perpetrators of these deeds were inhabitants of the ejido Agua Azul,
nearly all of who belonged to OPDDIC. For this reason, both local and
international organizations are calling for a tourism boycott until the
aggressions against Zapatista communities cease.
In the community of Vetel Yo'chib, near to Agua Azul, on December 29th,
2007, on the road to his milpa [plot of land], compañero Pablo Silvano
Jiménez received a bullet in the leg from two policemen and a member of
OPDDIC. From then on, he has had to go into hiding and can no longer work to
feed his family. In the last week of January an international observation
brigade that was in Vetel received death threats and also threats of rape.
On February 1, 2008 members of OPDDIC and the police shot at compañero
Eliseo Silvano Jiménez and his son. Afterwards they were arrested in an
OPDDIC truck. In prison they were tortured and forced to have photos taken
of them holding arms. Currently they are still in prison in Palenque and
there is no media attention.
1. The suspension of all forms of aggression against the Zapatistas and
other communities in resistance.
2. The suspension of the counter-insurgency war against the indigenous and
zapatista communities and the withdrawal of the military bases from the
indigenous region of Chiapas.
3. The release of Eliseo Silvano Jiménez and Eliseo Silvano Espinoza as well
as all other political prisoners.
4. A total halt to the violent evictions in the indigenous territory of
5. The end of cooperation between paramilitary organizations such as OPDDIC
and the federal army and police, as well as the legal recognition of the
crimes that this organization has committed.
6. Respect for Indigenous Autonomy.
Hundreds of Papuans are reported to have held protests in Jayapura,
the capital of the Indonesian province of Papua. The demonstrators
want the Papuan People's Council, the MRP, to be dissolved, saying
it's failed to protect the rights of indigenous Papuans in the
province. The MRP was set up by Jakarta three years ago; the coalition
of tribal chiefs were tasked with arbitration and speaking on behalf
of traditional customs. But many Papuans feel the Council has failed
to push their case for greater autonomy from Jakarta, or to protect
the local community from human rights abuses.
Speaker - Parlian Siagian, chairman of the Resistance Front of the Papuan Community, Jakarta
By our reporters
15 February 2008
Over the past week the local media has bombarded Australians with gushing praise for the Rudd government’s apology to members of the “stolen generations”—the Aboriginal and “half-caste” children who were forcibly removed from their parents by government authorities from 1900 to the early 1970s. Lofty editorials, endless commentaries and extensive radio and television broadcasts have hailed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for allegedly “healing past wounds” and “bringing the nation together”.
The real attitude of the media and political establishment toward the desperate conditions facing indigenous Australians, however, was on display less than 24 hours before Rudd delivered his formal apology.
The day before the nationally televised “sorry” events, nearly 2,000 Aborigines from across the country gathered in Canberra to protest the federal government’s Northern Territory (NT) police-military intervention.
Demonstrators came from all Australian states—some visiting the national capital for the first time in their lives. Many arrived not to hear Rudd’s apology, but to protest the Labor government’s ongoing support for the takeover of Aboriginal communities in the NT.
Yet, virtually all coverage of the February 12 protest was suppressed. Apart from brief reports by some news networks on Tuesday night and a perfunctory article in the local Canberra Times, the demonstration—a significant national event—went largely unreported.
The reason for this silence is not difficult to fathom. Labor’s ongoing support for the NT intervention—launched by the previous Howard government just over six months ago—refutes all pretensions that Rudd’s apology represents a departure from past crimes and a fresh beginning for the Aboriginal people.
Any objective reporting of Tuesday’s protest would have exposed the ugly face of the NT intervention and cast an unacceptable pall across the national image being projected by the media and political elite.
Tuesday’s demonstrators, led by about 20 Aborigines from the Northern Territory, marched to the lawns outside federal parliament chanting, “Stop the intervention, human rights for all”. Marchers carried placards denouncing the takeover of some 72 Aboriginal townships and missions.
Among those speaking from the platform at the rally was Barbara Shaw from Tangentyere Council, which administers the town settlements around Alice Springs. She told protestors: “I’m a fourth generation town-camper and my kids are the fifth. The old people back home they don’t want us living the same lifestyles that they had to put up with.”
Many of those who had travelled from the Northern Territory addressed the crowd. While their comments were brief, they provided a glimpse of how the intervention, mounted on the pretext of protecting Aboriginal children from abuse, has impacted on dozens of Aboriginal communities. Among the measures they denounced was the “quarantining” of welfare payments—the government’s Centrelink agency is withholding half the benefits of every resident and forcing them to obtain an identity card to purchase food and other essential items from nominated retail outlets.
Frank Djirrimbilpilwuy from Elcho Island directed his remarks to the media and its false portrayals of indigenous people. “First of all the media must put down exactly what we say. I’m a broadcaster, so don’t tell me you have your protocols. I want you to get what we say right. We came here for a reason and want to talk about the problems we’re having because of the intervention. This is a historic moment for our people and we want this intervention to stop.”
Aunty Valerie from Yuendemu, which is north-west of Alice Springs, denounced the intervention. “We know how to look after our kids,” she said. “We don’t want to be treated like animals. We want to be treated like human beings.”
Another man said. “We have come to this parliament because we want to talk to the Rudd government to stop this intervention. We call it an invasion. I’ve just rung up my mob at home and they have nothing. They have to walk miles to get to Centrelink to get a ration card or whatever they call it. They can only shop at Woolworths or Coles and then they have to walk back home again. This is a bad shame.”
Walter Shaw from Tangentyere Council was cheered when he said: “This intervention is racially vilifying and demonising our communities—that women neglect their children; that men abuse their children and that Aboriginal men and women are chronic alcoholics.
“We want to move forward but this intervention feels like the last nail in the coffin for our people. We want to maintain our cultural existence and existences as Aboriginal people but we want to move forward so we can live side by side with all Australians... This intervention was supposed to be an idealistic vision from [former Howard minister] Mal Brough. He is no longer in his seat in parliament. This intervention should have been thrown out, along with him.”
Kathleen Martin, 73, who lives 25 kilometres outside Alice Springs, said her pension was now being “managed” by the government. “I paid taxes and tried to lead a good life but now I’ve been income-managed and they couldn’t give me a reason why. This is wrong and I’ve come down here to oppose this intervention.”
Another man explained that he lived 30 kilometres from Alice Springs, and like hundreds of other Aborigines in the areas now under military management, had walk or hitchhike into town “to get the welfare shopping card, do my shopping and then, because I have no cash, walk home”. Other speakers warned that the intervention would be used against Aborigines throughout Australia.
Aaron, a welfare worker from Alice Springs, told the crowd that the government was turning the clock back to the days of ration cards. “The older generation has experienced this sort of thing before but these children here should not,” he said. “This intervention cannot go on. Why should we have to fight red tape to get access to our own money? Why should have to beg or borrow—we are not children getting pocket money; we are not animals to be told what to do?”
Not a single Labor MP spoke at the protest, underscoring the Rudd government’s firm intent to maintain the NT takeover. Nevertheless, no-one in the Aboriginal leadership was prepared to condemn the Rudd government. Greens leader and federal senator Bob Brown and Australian Democrat Andrew Bartlett each praised Rudd’s planned “apology” and fostered illusions that Labor could be pressured to adopt progressive measures.
Brown, for example, hailed the Rudd government for inviting Aborigines to open the federal parliament with a traditional welcome ceremony on February 11 and claimed the formal apology to the stolen generations was “an important first step”.
Yesterday, speaking in federal parliament, Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin rebutted accusations from opposition shadow minister Tony Abbott that Labor plans to “water down” the NT legislation. Macklin assured the opposition that almost 6,000 people were currently being “income-managed” and that, along with existing military personnel, an additional 66 Australian Federal Police would be deployed to Aboriginal communities in the NT over the next two years.
* * *
World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke with some of those attending the February 12 demonstration.
Eric from Titkikala near Alice Springs denounced the government’s NT intervention: “I don’t agree with this intervention at all. We call it an invasion. They say it is to help Aboriginal people, but it doesn’t help them at all. They now control half our welfare and can cut it when they feel like it. Women and kids are going to be starving and hungry.
“The police are even stopping people coming into town from the bush to get hospital care. Everybody’s money has been cut back and so some people have had to use unregistered cars to get there. The police pull them over and charge them with driving unregistered vehicles. Seven hundred and thirty people have been booked for this—some people have had to travel hundreds of miles to get to hospital. This has been going on since last year. Police have also raided some communities looking for drugs and thrown their gear outside. Nothing has been found, it’s just harassment.”
Natasha Moore, a 23-year-old social worker travelled from Perth, Western Australia to attend the demonstration. “When they first announced the military intervention policy last year I thought it was ridiculous. It is a clear attack on Aboriginal people in remote areas who live in poverty and don’t have any real services. There was the report on child abuse but the government just used this as an excuse to intervene. The intervention is racist and discriminatory—it only targets and then penalises Aboriginal people and it takes away their rights as a people. I don’t think there is any need for this.
“Aboriginal people in the remote areas have no access to health, to proper community welfare or agencies to help with alcohol and other problems. Just banning alcohol doesn’t stop the problem. You have to treat the underlying issues—the poverty, unemployment and despair. I was really shocked and angry when I found out what the intervention meant.
“I was surprised that Labor supported this. I thought they had a different agenda. The apology is a good thing in trying to establish a proper relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Australia. But how can this be properly done if they keep this military intervention? How fair is that? And there has to be compensation for the stolen generations. I’ve heard stories about how babies were taken away from their families. These were horrible crimes and had a terrible effect on people. The government had no right to do this to the original inhabitants of this land.
“What needs to be done is to allow indigenous people to have control over their own lives—to have real equality and to have proper jobs and all the facilities that are necessary for families to have a decent life. Alcoholism and drug abuse is a problem in Aboriginal communities because there are many other underlying issues and unless these are honestly recognised by the government and real help provided nothing will change.”
On February 13, the day of Rudd’s apology speech, WSWS reporters spoke to participants in the previous day’s protest.
Barbara Shaw is an executive member of Tangentyere Council. “I don’t understand why they didn’t report our march yesterday against the NT intervention. We get more international coverage than coverage here. Last year we were interviewed from France, Germany and Italy.
“I want Rudd to go to all the communities. All our camps are dirty and run down but we try and do the best we can without any resources. We need proper housing, healthy living, education and we need high schools in the remote communities. There is only one in Wave Hill.”
Harry Jagamara Nelson is the head of the Community Council at Yuendumu. “We need to be hitting the government repeatedly till they change course to stop the intervention. All the intervention has provided us is 100 rakes to clean up the place. That’s it. The welfare quarantining has not started at our community yet. You know they are even quarantining old age pensioners.
“It’s wrong what happened in the early days—children taken away from their parents—and it’s right they said sorry but it will never take away the memories. We hope this [gathering] will stop the NT intervention. Today we are talking to the Senate Committee. We want to persuade them to roll it back.”
Seventy-year-old Albert Holt from Inala, Queensland said: “Today we heard a lot of rhetoric and a lot of bulldust and I just don’t know which was worse. People have heard plenty of nice words from politicians before but not much has changed. The words might sound fine but until they bridge the gap between this rhetoric and overcome the reality that faces most Aboriginal people then it’s just hot air.
“Nobody condones the sexual mistreatment of children and similar sort of behaviour that was referred to in the government report and in the media about the situation in the Northern Territory. It’s wrong but I disagree with the military intervention because it’s just over the top.
“It must be terrifying to have the military and police going around these communities with no restraints and restrictions on what they do to people. I just wonder if there were white communities with the same problem whether the government would send in the military. Quarantining welfare is going to lead to increased numbers of Aborigines being incarcerated in prisons and that will only cost the taxpayers even more.”
Australia: "Stolen generations" speak out in Canberra
[14 February 2008]
Australian Prime Minister apologises to "stolen generation": rhetoric versus reality
[13 February 2008]
Australian federal parliament's "sorry" resolution: the real agenda
[12 February 2008]
Charges range from Riot, Affray, Criminal Damage amongst many others. This is show trial for the state and the only good pr the victorian poaka are getting at the moment. With 23 of us the committal will drag on for five weeks, with trial in the County Court set for some time next year.
On Monday February 18, 23 people facing charges stemming from the G20 protest in November 2006 will be having the first day of their Committal hearing at Melbourne Magistrate Court.
The Ongoing G20 Arrestee Solidarity Network has called a rally in support of the arrestees. It is vital that we support other activists as they face state repression. In the spirit of solidarity we invite all who are interested to come and support the arrestees, and continue the struggle for a better world.
See you all there!
Where: Melbourne Magistrates Court (cnr of William and Lonsdale st)
When: Monday 18 February, 9:30 am
mail solidarity statements to:
THEY were taken from their parents more than 40 years ago, a group of frightened children from Balranald, NSW, who were bundled into the back of a police car and driven away.
Memories of the "kidnapping", as Mick Edwards refers to it, returned for his family yesterday, as seven of his brothers and sisters gathered to hear the Prime Minister's apology.
Standing on the lawns outside Parliament House clutching a black-and-white photo of her late father, Nugget Edwards, Maria Edwards bowed her head as Kevin Rudd repeated the word "sorry" from a TV screen. Her sister, Alice, held her shoulders.
" 'Bout f…in' time!" yelled Mick, a football coach who has spent his life trying to control his anger about the past and a broken childhood in boys' homes. His brother Reg Edwards, who is a dialysis patient, stood quietly in the crowd — breaking down only later as he looked at a photo of his dead son.
Singer-songwriter Kutcha Edwards said the family came to accept the apology for all their relatives damaged by the removal — including their late mother, Mary, their father and a brother, Wally, who died from alcoholism at the age of 43.
"They went to their graves without hearing it," said an emotional Kutcha, before singing with the musician John Butler.
"We could have been different if we were left alone," said Arthur, the eldest of the Edwards, who remembers the removal clearly, and being interned at Swan Hill police station before being taken to institutions.
"Phone calls were made to social welfare about Mum not looking after us well. That was totally untrue, we were all loved," he said. "We used to walk to school every day on the riverbank holding hands. All of a sudden it wasn't to be.
"They thought they were doing the right thing taking us. They destroyed us."
The "senior" denialists of Australian history, do not see, nor do they wish to see, the causal chains that begin with the incursions of settlers, the destruction of environments, the "rough work", the genocidal impulses of the squatters, the segregation-protection era of reserves, settlements and missions, the legislation which always proclaimed itself to be for "the physical, mental and social welfare" of the people, the dismissal of Aboriginal values and their evaluation as less than human, the creation of chronic dependency, and the (continuing) practice of institutionalisation, something which even Neville, a pioneer of forced assimilation, for once correctly saw all too clearly - "that coloured races all over the world detest". It is that very premeditated institutionalisation - whether on Christian missions, cattle stations, government settlements and reserves, assimilation homes, dormitories, juvenile facilities and prisons - that helps explain the degradation, disease and premature dying over these past two hundred years.
gotta to agree that this 'apology' is sickening white liberalism and political spin at its worse. Justice for Aboriginal First Nations Now.
With all the gubba politics aside, just all the mobs converging in kanberra, together is a beautiful and powerful thing. Robbie Thorpe and mob left the Kulin Nations this arvo and are heading to join the Mob around that Sacred Fire at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
The 9th February saw a disgraceful act of colonial glorification by a deep-rooted racist community of locals and backed by ignorant politicians and do-gooders of the Mangere Bridge community and wider Manukau district. Orpheus Day is an event to commemorate the shipwreck of HMS Orpheus, a military ship that was bound for land confiscation, cultural genocide, treaty breaches and the bloody and tragic invasion of the Waikato. This year anti-colonialist Māori, Pākehā and Tau Iwi activists disrupted this event.
The ‘festival’ had the aim of getting youth involved to celebrate and commemorate the lives lost in the shipwreck of HMS Orpheus. The ‘festival’ was dismal in turnout and offensively ignorant as expected. Like last year, there was no involvement from the local iwi who have been opposed to this event from the beginning.
Starting with a marching band of a paid bagpipe brigade, followed by a contingent of St Johns youth and the local walking club, protesters made a mockery of the event by leading the march with Tino Rangatiratanga flags and a banner with the slogan- ‘Colonisation: The REAL Tragedy’.
Notable characters such as recently appointed mayor or Manukau, Len Brown, Mayor of Waitakere, Bob Harvey and the benefactor of the cannon on whose property it sits, Wynona Stevens, made inappropriate speeches about the great loss incurred by the sinking, rebutted by hecklings and chants from Maori sovereignty activists and Radical Youth. After speeches, men dressed in colonial military regatta fired their guns and raised a New Zealand flag; people hummed along to the Maori version of the national anthem, follower by a hearty chorus of the English version. The public was then invited to proceed down to the festivities across a knoll, where a baking competition, an all female barbershop cortette and more colonial British military gunfire would barely hold the attention of the 20 or so members of the public who considered today’s event relevant or worthwhile.
Commemoration of the Orpheus also involved the firing of a cannon, situated on a Mangere Bridge resident’s front lawn. The half-scale replica of a traditional colonial cannon was due to be fired at 1:30pm after speeches, but protestors stood in front of the cannon preventing it from being let off until most people had left the ‘festival’. This cannon is a symbol colonial destruction and mass murder.
Those involved the organising of the event alleviated the community action funds of all but the remaining matter of dollars for a fizzer of an event- thousands were given to the group organising who claimed at a community board meeting that the event could not go ahead if the money was not granted- the money then went to paying St John to participate and hiring the marching bagpipe brigade as well as hiring a singing cortette.
Pitched as a youth based event to educate and involve the community, the event itself on the day could not have been further from this; the average age being round the 60 year old mark and those youth who did attend were part of a paid contingent or those protesting against the shameful event. No schools were invited to the event and most of the community did not know it was on. It is unlikely to for the event to continue next year due to the disruption from protestors and the poor turnout from the community.
People in the community were told that local iwi had approved the day and indorsed the celebrations- that was not the case and tangata whenua of the region were and still are offend by the notion of firing a cannon to commemorate the loss of what was essentially, a raiding party, here to steal, kill and destroy.
In the Kulin Nations, Waitangi day for the whanau started with our tamariki holding our Tino Rangatiratanga flag A beautiful testament to 168 years of our Haapu and its resistance and struggle against colonial rule.
Peoples from all struggles gathered outside the NZ settler consulate on Waitangi Day.
After a welcome from our elder Nan Old (Taranaki), Cheryl (ISJA) read the Aboriginal Trent Embassy Declaration, as peoples resident in Melbourne that support Indigenous struggle we wanted publicly acknowledge and affirm the Sovereignty of Aboriginal Nations in Australia.
Sina read a statement from Te Ata Tino Toa, companera Tia Taurere, "The Tino Rangatiratanga flag symbolises the long tradition of struggle and resistance by Maori against colonisation and the Crown sponsored theft of Maori land and resources. It is a symbol used by Maori who continue to resist the pressures of colonisation and cultural and economic genocide. Such a concept embraces the spiritual link Maori have with 'Papatuanuku' (Earthmother) and is a part of the international drive by indigenous peoples for self determination."
Sina then set about shattering settler fairytales & mythology reminded the whanau gathered, that the Treaty of Waitangi still remains to be honoured 168 years after its signing. The NZ Settler Governments refused to sign the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous peoples and the recent human rights abuses of the peoples of Tuhoe by nga poaka on behalf of the NZ settler state.
Just like the crap served up on here recently on stray alia Day, what is the nz settler state celebrating? We are definitely not celebrating our lack of, Tino Rangatiratanga, Mana Motuhake, Sovereignty or Self Determination. That’s for sure.
Rayna Fahey (Green Party, Radical Mamma, Pakeha Anarchist) then spoke about decolonisation and anti racism, affirming Indigenous rights is about human rights and respect, “ Respect for people and respect for our environment, and what it means to live up to treaty obligations as a settler.
Marisol Salinas (Mapuche, Environmentalist) gave the solidarity of the Mapuche peoples for the Maori struggle for self-determination. The Mapuche are under siege by the Chilean state as they seek to defend heir lands from the greed of multi nationals and corrupt, racist governments.
Nick Chesterfield (Kaurna Nation) a seasoned campaigner for Indigenous rights in the Pacific, notably of late Nick’s mahi with West Papua has been inspiring.
He gave an awesome korero about Aboriginal Sovereignty, Indigenous Unity in the pacific region and the challenges we face as we resist colonisation in the Pacific.
We were then honoured to have the Aboriginal Tent embassy represented by long time freedom fighter Robbie Thorpe (Krautungalung, Gunnai Nation) addressed us. “Land thieving, colonising, genocidal racists,.” This is invasion, and colonisation means for Indigenous peoples. He then reiterated how crucial it is for us to support each other’s struggles in the Pacific. . Robbie gave good serve against the four setter gubbaments and their refusal to affirm Indigenous human rights to Self Determination at an International level. Shame all right.
With a large Australian Federal Police presence Robbie reminded us that in the Pacific Australia and NZ & Amerikka are the biggest colonisers. Sina expanded on the role the AFP has in the Pacific and how the have built up over the past 10 years their presence in the pacific, they are a deployable paramilitary police group, resourced to the hilt. They are as Kevin Carmody sings, “ terrorists dressed in uniforms under the protection of their law”. The use of paramilitary police style repression & humans rights abuses in Tuhoe recently looks like part of an over all picture of state/police repression of Indigenous peoples thorough the Pacific at the movement. Are our human rights the price we have to pay in the Pacific for Settler, Trade & security agreements and arrangements?
With the Mob converging on Kkkanberra for the opening of the Gubbament, Indigenous rights are gaining momentum both here and throughout the Pacific and the world. We are standing up, we are unified; there’s a change in the wind for sure.
In the lead up to Waitangi Day, there were public forum discussions on environmental issues, the Resource Management Act and the contested role of runanga in Maori affairs. Comment from the floor questioned the legitimacy of the RMA process, the extent to engage in it, and the fact it is still the state’s agenda. The panel maintained that at least since 1991 there has been this mechanism to input via consultation and the Courts. A First Nations woman from North America spoke passionately about the recent United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and how crucial it is that people utilize the requirement that states seek the “free and informed consent” from indigenous peoples prior to any development
A woman from Ngati Kuri spoke about the struggle to stop the $6.5 million development project at Te Rerenga o nga Wairua (Cape Reinga). A hikoi was planned to leave Waitangi towards Te Rerenga Wairua today against development of sacred Maori land and the devastation on native flora and fauna. www.ngatikuri.tk/ The “Department of Constipation, of Confiscation” plans to build a Visitors center for tourism on this sacred and iconic land. “We will all be locked out of the Cape… tell the stories of our tupuna’s foot steps, our tupuna’s traditions, and the culture before you started marketing our culture and stories to the world. Promises of big spending on the Cape facilities whilst the local village of Te Hapua still suffer and struggle for the derelict buildings, roads, schooling, housing etc. 6.5million dollars could be better spent on the social development of the people of the Far North.”
February 5th, the politicians had their opportunity to electioneer and gain the Maori vote for this year’s election. Five questions were asked to each politician present. 1) Why should Maori vote for them? 2) What are they going to do about the Maori seats? 3) Giving the rising number of other ethnicities, what policies do you wish to introduce to protect Maori rights? 4) Would your party be looking at repealing the Foreshore and Seabed legislation? 5) How does your party’s treaty settlements fully address Maori grievances? All the parties replied with quite typical answers, when they could be heard through the heckling and booing. One staunch woman called them all “capitalist rip off merchants”. John Key’s speech included no practical policies that would benefit Maori but told the crowd, “I’ll tell you what’s best for Maori” – neo-liberal ‘opportunities’, colonial education, training and capitalism. (Yes the rich white man always knows what’s best). The repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed legislation has been pulled out for further discussion this year but National and Labour are adamant in retaining their 2004 position.
On the morning of Waitangi Day, a panel of speakers from Tuhoe including Tame Iti discussed the police raids on October 15 and promoting Te Mana Motuhake o Tuhoe. “We need to be confronting the issue, it’s not going to go away. The question of Mana Motuhake, the right of Maori to govern themselves in this land is what the Treaty is all about!” said Annette Sykes. The support and fund raising for those affected by the October 15 raids continues. A new CD compilation has been released called “Tu Kotahi – Freedom Fighting Anthems” to fundraise for the organizations involved in supporting the Urewera 17. www.freedomfigherscd.org.nz
The word rangatiratanga comes form the word rangatira which is most often translated as chief. Rangatiratanga which refers to chieftainship, approximates to oversight, responsibility, authority, control, sovereignty. It is a word used in the Lord's prayer for kingdom, which is a word very close in meaning to sovereignty. The word tino is an intensive or superlative, meaning variously: very, full, total, absolute. So tino rangatiratanga approximates to total control, complete responsibility, full authority, absolute sovereignty.
The term tino rangatiratanga was used in the Declaration of Independence of 1835 which recognised Nu Tireni (New Zealand) to be a sovereign and independent nation where power and authority rested with the rangatira. The English version of that declaration stated that "all sovereign power and authority resided entirely and exclusively" in the rangatira.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi of 1840 also used the term tino rangatiratanga with the promise that it would be guaranteed to Maori. In the words of the English translation of the Maori version of the Treaty, the Queen agreed to the rangatira and the iwi retaining full chieftainship (tino rangatiratanga) of their lands, their villages and all their taonga including the Maori way of life.
Tour of Oppression: Waitangi Day procession in Wellington From: October 15th Solidarity - Poneke
Members of the October 15th solidarity crew invite you to join on a Waitangi Day procession from Waitangi Park to the Mount Cook Prison Barracks to commemorate victims of Crown violence and acknowledge the continued colonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand. We will also be drawing attention to the continued prosecution of the ‘Urewera 16’ who still face a political trial on charges under the Arms Act. We will be leaving the south west corner of Waitangi Park at 4pm on 6 February. We invite you to bring tino rangatiratanga flags or other appropriate banners and placards.
The area now known as Mount Cook is defined by the hill, Pukeahu, where there was a pa prior to the arrival of the New Zealand Company. Settlers renamed it after Captain James Cook. Mount Cook was the main Armed Constabulary depot from 1869. Between 1882 and 1900 there was a maximum security prison, which became a military barracks circa 1902. As a site for both the Armed Constabulary and the prison, the Mt Cook barracks on Buckle Street was a centre of colonial oppression and occupation.
The October 15th Solidarity crew is a grassroots community group that formed in response to the nation-wide raids. The group has been working on five common points:
-Free the prisoners -Drop the charges -Support Tino Rangatiratanga and Te Mana Motuhake o Tuhoe -Repeal the Terrorism Suppression Act -Justice for all those raided on October 15th
Sushi Das January 31, 2008
. And embarrassingly for him, his protests are becoming more preposterous and hysterical.
The most unpalatable element of his accusation this week that journalists have misinformed the public over counter-terrorism cases and undermined the judicial system is his shameless hypocrisy.
And his call for a media commentary blackout on the reporting of these cases until all legal avenues have been exhausted raises the question: on which hilltop does Keelty stand when he makes such demands of Australia's robust democratic institutions?
In Keelty's ideal world there would have been no public scrutiny of the Mohamed Haneef case, which collapsed spectacularly after the AFP and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions made crucial mistakes — mistakes that were revealed by the media. The Indian-born doctor was charged last July with providing a mobile phone SIM card to a terrorist organisation. The charges were later dropped because of lack of evidence.
Let's refresh our memories over key events. There was the incorrect assertion that Haneef's SIM card was found in the exploded jeep at Glasgow airport. This claim was used to support the ongoing detention of Haneef.
First Keelty tried to blame the prosecutors and then he tried to blame the British police for providing wrong information — a mistake the British police say they corrected before Haneef was charged.
The AFP knew the SIM card was not in the jeep when they laid the charges and they knew the prosecutor misinformed the court. The AFP did not immediately correct the mistake. In fact it did not seek to correct information in the public domain until the ABC revealed the SIM card was recovered hundreds of kilometres away in Liverpool — exactly where Haneef had left it. This was followed by Keelty's garbled comments about the SIM card being in "in the vicinity of London" and "still at Glasgow". His subsequent failure to entirely dismiss an Indian "dossier" alleging Haneef had links to al-Qaeda was plain dirty.
When charges against Haneef were finally dropped, Keelty tried to blame the DPP, saying police were obliged to charge Haneef on the prosecutor's advice. The DPP presses charges based on evidence put forward by the police.
Last year Keelty attacked the media for making police investigations difficult and he savaged Haneef's barrister, Stephen Keim, for leaking a transcript of the AFP's interview with Haneef. Everyone's to blame but him.
Then in a speech to the Sydney Institute this week, he attacked media manipulation of public sentiment, acting in the defensive manner of someone who believes he has no case to answer. The AFP has many media spokespeople and they all want to spin the news their way.
At least when Keim gave the transcript to The Australian, he owned up to it. He took responsibility.
But who has taken responsibility for the "secret information" about the case that police claimed could not be divulged — the innuendoes, smears and leaks that look suspiciously like they came from the police themselves?
In calling for the creation of a "society of editors" that police and intelligence chiefs can use to brief the media in an off-the-record forum to set matters straight, Keelty displays that he knows little of the competitive media environment. It would take only one editor to breach the rules, one leak to a blogger, one whisper in the wrong ear.
Keelty's boo-hoo-hoo antics belie the AFP's woeful record on the Haneef case. The cops got clobbered and they know it. Keelty just can't handle it, so he lashes out at the media because there is no one else to blame.
The saddest thing about this whole drama is that Keelty has a reputation for being a good cop. He is respected by many in the force and applauded for the AFP's expert handling of matters after the Bali bombings.
The AFP has done excellent work catching terrorists in conjunction with the Indonesian police. He was unfairly pilloried for stating the plain truth after the Madrid bombing when he said Australia's involvement in Iraq had made the threat of terrorist attacks worse, and he even got slapped down when he said climate change posed a threat to national security.
One might have expected, after heading the AFP since 2001, through some tumultuous times for Australia's crime fighting forces, that he might have been mentioned in this year's Australia Day honours.
Since the AFP failed to remain independent and above politics as Howard government heavies weighed into the Haneef case to exploit popular insecurities, it's hard to see how the AFP under Keelty is going to redefine itself.
And redefine itself it must, to some degree, under the Rudd Government, which has signalled that while it is not about to soften tough counter-terrorism legislation, it will broaden its national security strategy to include a new focus on social policy to build bridges with the Islamic community.
On the domestic terrorism front, things have been going awry for Keelty for some time. But sheeting the blame home to the media, the very same media that his spin doctors seek to manipulate, is unworthy of his office.
If he hasn't already lost it, he is on the precipice of losing the public's trust. Perhaps the time has come for Keelty to hand in his badge.
Sushi Das is a senior writer.
Workers of the USTKE union battle cops and bosses after a union member was fired for theft. The union rejects this accusation, claiming the worker is being victimized. Jef Costello writes:
“Workers at Carsud, the bus transport system for the capital Nouméa and surrounding areas, went on strike over the dismissal of a colleague for gross misconduct. Workers began a general strike, rotating between different regions, on January 9th. Some 200 police were sent against the strikers occupying the buildings at around 2am. Workers picketing the roundabout were attacked with tear gas grenades, rubber bullets and batons. Those who couldn’t get away in time claim to have been beaten in the back of the police vans. Workers responded by throwing stones at police. They overturned and burned two police vans as well as the director’s car.
Clashes continued all night and well into the next morning in what police described as ’scenes of guerilla warfare’. Seven police and two gendarmes reported minor injuries, as did dozens of workers. Up to 63 arrests were made with at least 12 strikers held on remand, mostly for charges of armed assault on police officers and criminal damage and are set to appear before a judge tomorrow (Jan 22nd)... The union has denounced the refusal of the company to negotiate. The high commissioner for the province, one of France’ overseas territories, said after the night’s violence: ‘they are using the tactics of crooks and thugs and I will punish them as such.’”
(Infoshop News, LibCom.org, 01/21/08)